Download Amnesiac Selves: Nostalgia, Forgetting, and British Fiction, by Nicholas Dames PDF

By Nicholas Dames

With Joyce, Proust, and Faulkner in brain, we've come to appreciate the unconventional as a sort with intimate ties to the impulses and approaches of reminiscence. This learn contends that this universal belief is an anachronism that distorts our view of the unconventional. according to an research of consultant novels, Amnesiac Selves exhibits that the Victorian novel bears no such safe relation to reminiscence, and, in truth, it attempts to conceal, avoid, and put off remembering. Dames argues that the impressive shortage and distinctive unease of representations of remembrance within the nineteenth-century British novel sign an paintings shape suffering to outline and build new ideas of reminiscence. via putting nineteenth-century British fiction from Jane Austen to Wilkie Collins along a wide selection of Victorian psychologies and theories of brain, Nicholas Dames conjures up a novelistic global, and a tradition, ahead of glossy memory--one devoted to a nostalgic evasion of distinctive recollection which our time has mostly forgotten.

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Extra resources for Amnesiac Selves: Nostalgia, Forgetting, and British Fiction, 1810-1870

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It is admittedly a large tonal step from Mr. Harley to Fanny Price’s reluctance to remember Portsmouth, or even Edward Ferrars’s reluctance to bring up the past in conversation; it is a small conceptual step, however, for what these creations have in common, as we will see, is a selfhood not dependent on remembrance. This is not, it should be made clear, a contemporary conception of personality, indebted as that would be to modernist innovations in the formal structure of narrative and psychoanalytic innovations in the mapping of mental processes.

5 Austen’s publishing career begins with Marianne Dashwood, who, as we have seen, courts memory, and who suVers through a wasting disease brought on by an excess of regret and reminiscence. The keynote of her character is rung at the novel’s outset precisely through her eighteenthcentury version of nostalgia: she is the most reluctant of the Dashwood family to leave their former home, Norland Park, and the most consistent in her desire to remain nostalgic; “Elinor,” she says to her mother, “in quitting Norland and Edward, cried not as I did” (SS, 39).

To refuse such a belief, to doubt that an epoch has been made in Darcy’s life, is also to refuse the proVered satisfactions of the novel, so that complicity in Austen’s narrative logic involves a complicity in the logic of nostalgia as well. 40 Darcy’s remorse, therefore, is not the contrary of Elizabeth’s asserted pleasure in remembrance but its corollary, since the pleasure he takes from remembrance consists in finding his memories, in themselves unpleasant, obsolete. Elizabeth’s dictum had claimed that the unpleasant should be forgotten, but Darcy’s life-review enables us to see that under the conditions of nostalgia the unpleasant can be remembered pleasurably through the lens of disconnection.

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